Muggles Places
Canon discussion / Harry Potter Lexicon Minute

The Weasleys and Ottery St Catchpole

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Some of the folks in town must know about that odd house out there in the middle of the fields. It’s only about a mile south of town, after all, and the Burrow isn’t invisible or Unplottable or anything like that.

The Weasleys and Ottery St Catchpole

Did you ever stop to think about the strange relationship between the Weasleys and the town of Ottery St. Catchpole?

Some of the folks in town must know about that odd house out there in the middle of the fields. It’s only about a mile south of town, after all, and the Burrow isn’t invisible or unplottable or anything like that. Otherwise Molly wouldn’t have been able to order up three Muggle taxis to drive over to the Burrow and take everyone to King’s Cross Station in chapter 11 of Goblet of Fire. She must have given them the address. So the Burrow is perfectly visible to Muggles in Ottery St Catchpole.

And since it’s at least five stories high, it must stick up above the trees too. Unless it’s bigger on the inside than the outside. That seems likely, now that I think about it.

The Weasley’s don’t avoid the village either. The twins actually hang around the town sometimes, flirting with the local girls. In chapter 16 of Half-Blood Prince  they say:

“We’re off to the village, there’s a very pretty girl working in the paper shop who thinks my card tricks are something marvelous . . , almost like real magic. …”

And let’s consider that incident with Molly Weasley, the telephone, and those Muggle taxis.

According to Goblet of Fire, Molly “braved the telephone in the village post office” to hire three Muggle taxis to take everyone to King’s Cross. I expect that Ron also used that same public phone to call Harry during the summer of 1993, where he hollered into the mouthpiece and annoyed Uncle Vernon.

Molly seems to be a little more comfortable with using it, although maybe not much, since she is said to have “braved” using the phone.

Just think about that taxi ride — that’s a distance of about 170 miles. It would take about three hours just to get to the outskirts of London and at least another 45 minutes to get to King’s Cross. All told, that would be at least an eight hour day of driving with the meter running. The price for those three taxis to make that trip and return would be, well, astronomical. I expect Arthur “liberated” some Muggle money from the exchange at Gringotts to pay for them, which the goblins couldn’t have been happy about.

Other wizarding families in the vicinity of Ottery St Catchpole include Xenophilius Lovegood and his daughter Luna. More about their house in a future podcast.

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In the Harry Potter Lexicon Minute podcast you’ll hear the voices of our editors sharing some of the many little things which delight us about the Wizarding World. In each podcast, just a couple of minutes in length, we’ll talk about anything from cool trivia and interesting canon passages to the latest Wizarding World news. We hope you’ll join us! And we’d love to hear from you as well. Feel free to use the comment section on the blogpost for each podcast to post your thoughts.

Special thanks go to Felicia Cano who gave us permission to use her amazing artwork of Hermione reading a book for the logo, which was created by Kim B.

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